Question: What are some predictable problems in sentence structure?
Answer: Run-on sentences; sentence fragments; active/passive voice; dangling modifiers; misplaced modifiers; parallel structure.
These sentence problems are 100% predictable. They are among the types of problems tested in the SAT Writing Section. I thought I should summarize the simplified sentences and their corrections to help you remember them.
Run-on (comma splice): The Phillies played, they lost as usual.
Fragments: After the rain delay. Riding her bicycle. The roof in the back yard.
Active voice/Passive voice: The boy hit the ball. The ball was hit by the boy.
Dangling modifier: Carrying a coke and a hot dog, the Phillies hit into a double play.
Misplaced modifier: She walked the dog in a short skirt.
Parallel structure: He liked to hunt and fishing.
Run-on: The Phillies played (When) (.)(;) (and) they lost as usual.
Fragment: Attach to a preceding or following sentence; or add a missing subject or verb.
The Phillies played after the rain delay.
She was riding her bike on the sidewalk.
After the hurricane, the roof lay in the back yard.
Active/Passive voice: both active and passive are grammatically correct. Use the active (subject doing the action) as much as possible. The boy hit the ball.
Dangling modifier: Add the subject to the dangling modifier, who did what.
While I was carrying a coke and a hot dog, the Phillies hit into a double play.
Misplaced modifier: Put the modifier next to the word it modifies.
Wearing a short skirt, she walked her dog.
Parallel structure: Grammatically, what occurs on one side of a coordinate conjunction (and, or, nor, but, yet, so) must occur on the other side.
He liked to hunt and to fish. He liked hunting and fishing.
Next: Ten minutes a day to learn to recognize and correct these and other problems in your own writing.
All the best. RayS.